Description - Animals were not the only inhabitants known to exist in the area over the centuries. Archaeologists have discovered a number of Indian sites here. During the first Seminole Indian War in 1818, General Andrew Jackson crossed the river here with his army.
Copyright: - Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Torreya State Park
In 1828, when Florida became a U.S. Territory, the first government road across north Florida met the river here in the park. Throughout the 1800s, the Apalachicola River was an important interstate highway. More than 200 steamboats traveled the river during the great trading era, 1840-1910. The Gregory House, with its antique furnishings, is a reminder of this affluent period.
During the Civil War, a six cannon battery located on a bluff protected this important route. The battery was in place to prevent Union gunboats from passing. The remains of the gun pit can be seen along the bluff trail.
The Gregory House, built in 1849 by Planter Jason Gregory, stood across the river from the park at Ocheesee Landing. Gregory's plantation prospered until the beginning of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. In 1935, the house was dismantled and moved to its present location in the park by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
- The park is named for a species of rare Torreya tree that occurs only on the bluffs along the Apalachicola River. This once plentiful tree was nearly destroyed by disease in the early 1960s and may be doomed to extinction. Other rare plants found in the park include the Florida yew tree and the U.S. Champion winged elm. The forests of the park include river swamps, hardwood hammocks and high pinelands. Each community contains a different set of trees, shrubs and wildflowers, which offer variety during each season of the year. Many hardwood trees that commonly occur in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia forest the bluffs and ravines. These hardwoods provide the finest display of fall color found in Florida. Over 100 species of unique and colorful birds may be seen throughout the area. An array of animals commonly found in the park includes deer, beaver, bobcat, gray fox and the unusual Barbours map turtle.
The natural beauty of the park can best be enjoyed a seven-mile loop that meanders through the park, exposing the hiker to virtually all the park's natural features. Recreational activities available in the park include one of the state's most peaceful and scenic campgrounds, with two primitive campsites located along the hiking trail for registered hikers. A picnic area with covered shelters is provided. Ranger-guided tours of the restored Gregory House are available daily. Included in the tour are stories of early plantation life along the river.
Recreation - Torreya State Park offers around 16 miles of hiking trails. In fact, Backpacker
Magazine has touted the park as being an excellent place to train in the winter
months. In addition to hiking, visitors may camp or enjoy guided house tours.
There is also a year-round "yurt," which is a fully equipped cabin.
Climate - The panhandle area of Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The average summer temperatures reach well above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild with temperatures averaging below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (below 11 Celsius). The average precipitation for the panhandle area is more than 60 inches per year. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
Torreya State Park is located off Route 1641, about 13 miles north of Bristol.